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Writing Mothers and Daughters
Renegotiating the Mother in Western European Narratives by Women
Edited by Adalgisa Giorgio
272 pages, index
ISBN 978-1-57181-953-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (April 2002)
ISBN 978-1-57181-341-1 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (April 2002)
“…very useful volume [that] provides a valuable cross-cultural context for the study of the mother-daughter relationship in literature… [The editor’s] strong theoretical introduction also provides very useful statistics on European birth rates, abortion rates, social policies, family patterns and the ethics of reproductive technologies.” · Journal of Romance Studies
“... a selection of impressive, erudite, thoughtfully written essays by seven forward-thinking contributors ... Enhanced with an informed and informative introduction, [this book] offers thoughtful and thought-provoking discourses which are highly recommended for Literary Studies and Women’s Studies reference collections and reading lists.” · Midwest Book Review
"The book will prove valuable to students doing graduate work." · Choice
"... offers thoughtful and thought-provoking discourses which are highly recommended." · Library Bookwatch
"Attests to the explosion of women's writing across Western Europe and to the centrality of the mother-daughter plot ... The commonalities and the differences that emerge enable us to think not only about mothers and daughters but also about national literatures, and national feminist movements, in new ways. This book reinvigorates the enterprise of feminist literary criticism" · Professor Marianne Hirsch, Dartmouth College
"Contains fascinating close readings of the major European writers ... it will become a classic work of criticism, essential for all courses focusing on twentieth century writing" · Professor Maggie Humm, Department of Cultural Studies, University of East London
The psychoanalytic discovery of the importance of the pre-oedipal mother-daughter bond in the 1970s generated a vast amount of feminist theory attempting to identify the specificity of, and give value to, the daughter's relationship to her mother. At the same time women writers engaged in the complex task of representing this highly conflictual relationship which had been largely absent in women's narrative until then. Although much criticism has been written on individual texts, no systematic study of the development of this theme in Western European fiction exists.
This book offers the first comparative assessment of the subject-matter in England, France, Germany and Austria, Ireland, Italy, and Spain in the second half of last century. The six main chapters explore the interplay between narrative strategies, psychic structures, and socio-political and cultural processes in the textual representation of the relationship in each country, thus providing original interpretations both of classic texts by established writers and of more recent narratives by new or emerging authors. Among the writers featured are Steedman, Diski, Winterson, Tennant, de Beauvoir, Leduc, Djura, Wolf, Jelinek, Mitgutsch, Novak, Lavin, O'Brien, O'Faoláin, Morante, Sanvitale, Ramondino, Chacel, Rodoreda, Martín Gaite.
Adalgisa Giorgio is Senior Lecturer in Italian Studies at the University of Bath.